Have you dialed in your Sales and your Profit? If so, the Order Level may need your attention next. To find out for sure, take the Fix This Next Assessment so you can focus on the correct core need in this level. The Order Level is one of my favorites because it addresses efficiency and roles and mastery. I'm an organizational behavior geek, in my spare time.
The end result of dialing in the Order Level is that you ensure you can leave your business for a 4-week vacation at least once a year. Having done that twice and now preparing for the third one, I can tell you it will propel your business forward in a way that you can't even imagine. If you want the freedom of time in addition to financial freedom, this is the level that will help you take control of your time now that Sales and Profits are shored up.
The Five Core Needs in the Order Level
- Minimize Wasted Effort - Do you have an ongoing and working model to reduce bottlenecks, slowdowns, and inefficiencies? This question makes me think of the phrase, "we've always done it this way." Look at the sequence of your work. What are the steps and where do things slow down or pile up? It may be boxes ready to ship or it may be orders to send to your suppliers. Having things pile up may mean there is wasted effort. While this may be manageable on a routine basis, what happens in Q4 or when you have to shift operations dramatically because of a pandemic?
- Role Alignment - Are people's roles and responsibilities matched to their talents? If you have someone on your staff who is not performing, perhaps they would better fit another position? Is there an opportunity to shift work from you to this person? Or rearrange some of the team's tasks? People develop and grow, jobs and tasks change. Hiring is never a one-and-done decision and you should always be on the lookout for ways to improve.
- Outcome Delegation - Are the people closest to the problem empowered to resolve it? While it is tempting to be the boss who has the answer to every question, as your organization grows, sheer complexity will keep you from having all the information to make a good decision. If you have the right team members aligned in the right roles, then trust them to make a good decision to get the best outcome. Look at the four D's; Do, Decide, Delegate, Design. You can learn more about this in Mike Michalowicz' book, Clockwork. You want to get away from the "doing" and "deciding" and delegate the work to those closest to the action. This frees you up to "design" the processes and focus on driving improvement in your business.
- Lynchpin Redundancy - Is your business designed to operate unabated when key employees are not available? When Dave and I left for our first four-week vacation, we prepared for 18 months prior to leaving. We looked at everything we did daily and worked with our team to determine how to structure the organization and the tasks to ensure nothing fell through the cracks. Now, in the time when many are dealing with sickness or having to spend a portion of their day with childcare or education, do you have a backup plan in place to cover those roles?
- Mastery Reputation - Are you known for being the best in your industry at what you do? Generalists attract a general customer base and they must constantly learn diverse, new surface-level skills to compete. Specialists attract customers with specialized needs and they constantly improve their offering through deep learning and improvement. Quite simply, specialists do fewer things more frequently and as a result, they gain mastery. By default, having the reputation of a master means you have built repetition into your learning, making you more efficient.
Do You Have Your Business in Order?
Or is this the level you need to address? At bookskeep, we have worked through these processes for several years. Dave's experience with inventory management as VP of Manufacturing for a national firm and Cyndi's expertise in organizational development provide a wide range of experience for our advisory clients in addition to the financial solutions we provide. Contact us today if you’d like assistance with any one of the five core needs in the Order level.
If your ecommerce business isn’t where you’d like it to be in terms of profitability, check out my book, Profit First for Ecommerce Sellers. It answers important questions about how to implement Profit First in an ecommerce business. Take control of your money and your business, and put Profit First to work for you!
You can also sign up for the Profit First for Ecommerce Sellers Online Course. As a Mastery Level, Certified Profit First Professional, I will teach you why Profit First works so well for ecommerce businesses and the particular challenges for businesses that have physical products requiring inventory management. You will learn how your behavior drives your money management habits for your business and how you can set up your business bank accounts to work with your habits.